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1,000 pounds of Derelict Fishing Gear Cleared from Provincetown Beaches; Ping Pong Table, Legacy Gear Cleared from Provincetown’s West End

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On what may have been the hottest summer day yet, volunteers with the Center for Coastal Studies Beach Brigade headed out over the West End Breakwater in Provincetown to conduct a shoreline cleanup on Wednesday, August 25.

A dozen volunteers hiked out to Wood End in the morning to move debris items from the flats and rocks to higher ground for removal by boat at high tide later in the day.

Legacy aquaculture gear – abandoned in the ‘80s when an unknown parasite destroyed the clam fishery at the time – was excavated from the moors on the west side of the breakwater, yielding 56 clam trays, leaded line, mesh netting and a pailful of rusted steel staples.

Rope, netting and insulation were cut out of the rocks; soda bottles and face masks were pulled from the cracks; and in what might be the oddest trash removal effort to date, a regulation-size ping pong table was hauled up from its mired location in the flats onto the breakwater, a transfer requiring many hands and careful engineering.

At high tide, three boats (Bethany Lynn, Jolly, and Flyer’s) made their way carefully to the breakwater to retrieve all the cached debris and bring it to the shore by the Provincetown Inn. The clam trays were saved for future use, and the remainder of the trash and fishing debris were brought to the transfer station. Beyond repair, the ping pong table was hoisted out by crane at the pier and sent to the scrap metal pile. In all, over 1,000 pounds of trash was disposed of.

For information about upcoming beach debris clean-up opportunities, or to see more images, contact Laura Ludwig, Manager of the Center for Coastal Studies Marine Debris & Plastics Program, at [email protected].

Groundbreaking Shark Ecology Research Program Launched at Center for Coastal Studies

The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown has received major funding from the National Park Service and the State of Massachusetts to establish a new Shark Ecology Research Program.

The foundation of the program is an ongoing study conducted by Bryan Legare, a seascape ecologist in the Center’s Marine Geology department.

Legare is examining the relationship between white shark behavior and habitat use in the shallow nearshore waters off the Cape Cod National Seashore to understand how sharks use the environment.

For the last three summers, Legare has deployed a dense array of acoustic receivers in a study area at Head of the Meadow beach in North Truro; he added a second array off Nauset Beach in 2020.

The receivers record the acoustic signal of previously-tagged white sharks as they pass through the area, allowing scientist to generate the tracks of individual white sharks. Those tracks are then compared to detailed, 3-dimensional images of the seabed collected during side-scan sonar surveys of the area by the Center’s Seafloor Mapping Program, and well as data on oceanographic conditions such as speed and direction of currents, tides, wave conditions and turbidity.

Analysis of the sharks’ movements relative to the physical environment and the submerged sandbanks and troughs determines which areas they prefer to travel through, at what time of day, and in what sea conditions. Ultimately, this work will help federal, state and local officials develop science-based management strategies to minimize potential interactions between humans and sharks.

This innovative study was initially developed by the CCS Geology Department in collaboration with state shark biologist, Dr. Greg Skomal. Local businesses and community members also threw their support behind the project, hosting fundraising events and providing opportunities for Legare to engage with the public at venues in Provincetown. A contract with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA DMF) allowed Legare to expand the project into the nearshore waters off Nauset Beach in 2020.

The recently announced three-year, $386,000 award from the National Park Service will increase the number of Cape Cod National Seashore beaches included in the study to five, and extend the work through 2024. The Shark Ecology Research Program will also receive an additional $75,000 from the State of Massachusetts via the DMF.

With this major investment, and continued support from the National Park Service, State Senator Julian Cyr, and House Member Sarah Peake, the new program will broaden the Center’s collaboration with the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Division of Marine Fisheries, the New England White Shark Research Consortium, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

“This is a terrific opportunity for Bryan and for the Center to add to our understanding of the marine ecology and to shed light on the factors that influence shark activity off our beaches,” says Rich Delaney, CCS President and CEO. “It is another example of the Center’s ecosystem-based approach to all of its marine and coastal research and an exciting opportunity to continue our collaborations with key colleagues.”

“This program developed directly out of questions the local community has over the re-emergence of the white shark population along the nearshore waters of Cape Cod,” says Shark Ecology Research Program Manager, Bryan Legare. “As we share space with sharks, seals, and other wildlife, the best course of action is to understand their role in the ecosystem through interdisciplinary science; to understand how these organisms use resources, move among to grow and survive in the habitats we share.”

For more information visit coastalstudies.org/shark-research.

Swim for Life 2021 Schedule

This year’s Swim for Life schedule looks a little different. The scheduled harbor event is on September 11. Swimmers will swim along the East End shoreline from Harbor and Breakwater hotels at Snail Road to East End Waterfront Park, 1.2 miles.

Starting Line: Harbor and Breakwater Hotels beach @Snail Road

Finish line: East End Waterfront Park, 387 Commercial Street

Walkers are also invited to participate with a walk along the beach route. Kayakers and safety boats will be asked, once again, to provide support and safety to the swimmers. Please register and consider raising pledges.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Boatslip Resort, 161 Commercial St., Provincetown

Swimmer orientation (optional) 1 p.m.

Kayak orientation (optional) 2 p.m.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Wellfleet Great Pond, Cahoon Hollow Rd, Wellfleet

Registration at 9:15 am, Swim starts 10 a.m.

Limited to 50 swimmers. All invited to the post-Swim Mermaid Tea at 2 p.m. at Provincetown’s East End Waterfront Park, 387 Commercial St.

Provincetown Harbor

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Registration & Cofee Social, with snacks by Blue Monkey Cafe & Bistro, Boatslip Resort, 161 Commercial Street

Swimmer and Walker registration, Boatslip deck

Boater, volunteer, and kayak registration, Boatslip beach

2 p.m. Swim start

Harbor Hotel Beach

Swimmers will be transported from the Boatslip beginning at 1:00 pm to the Swim start on the Funk Bus. Swimmers will start in waves. We ask the more competitive swimmers to ride in the first trip of the bus for the first wave.

2 – 5 p.m. Mermaid Tea

East End Waterfront Park @the Tent & Prayer Ribbons Garden! 387 Commercial Street

Free and open to the public. Mermaid Tea at the finish line: 2 – 5 p.m., cheer the swimmers as they arrive, catered by Far Land Provisions, music with Zoe Lewis, Awards Ceremony

This schedule is subject to change in compliance with current COVID-19 guidelines. All participants and spectators will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. For more information visit swim4life.org.